Courtisane 2017: Bahri | Opsomer | Asselberghs

Sunday, April 2, 2017 - 16:00
Sphinx Cinema, Ghent


Foyer (Ismaïl Bahri, 2016) - 32’

Foyer is a film resulting from experiments in filming with a sheet of white paper placed in front of the camera, a few centimetres from the lens. The intuition behind it, very simple at first, was to take the camera onto the streets of Tunis and observe the way that this dividing element taints itself with the surrounding light, vibrates according to the movements of the air, darkens with the passage of a cloud or when a person or object gets too close... This experiment shifted when passers-by, attracted by this device, approached me to question me and talk. I then understood that these words and voices filled this blank paper both with poetic and political content, as subtle as it was unexpected. The film appeared somewhat in the way a roll of film is impressed by light when exposed to it: it was progressively affected by what happened to it, the environment in which it was shot.” (Ismaïl Bahri)


10th of November | 09:05 (Els Opsomer, 2008) - 14’

“Every year on the 10th of November, at 09:05 in the morning, individuals across Turkey cease all activities. Cars pull over and pedestrians stop and stand still, in remembrance of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (founder and first president of the Republic of Turkey), who died on this day and time in 1938. This reverence for Atatürk, the charismatic leader who modernized and secularized Turkey after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, is an astonishing national phenomenon that reveals much about the ideological constructions that bind — some would say too tightly — the country together. Like much of her previous work, Els Opsomer’s film is informed by her experiences in the places she visits. It begins with photographic slides taken on site and added to her ongoing ‘Urban Archive’. Concerned with how we manoeuvre through what she considers an increasingly aggressive world, she often trains her gaze on urban phenomena that reveal the ways that we engage with our surroundings.” (Tara Mc Dowell)


For Now (Herman Asselberghs, 2017) - 32’

The central two movements in For Now are horizontal panorama shots and firm, vertical edits. They show shifts of place without the journey. Nature, the wind, movement that occurs all on its own: this would seem to be the film’s real subject matter. The film unfolds in waves. Locations come and go, and come back again — Lewinsky Park, Maximilian Park, Habima Square, Lion Square, Zucotti Park, Times Square or pastoral landscapes at opposite ends of the Mediterranean Sea. The actions are the same: people wait, pass by, kill time. The contrasts between refugees and citizens, between tourists and activists, between Israelis and Palestinians, between Europeans and Americans, all become less clear. The repetition of these unclarified relationships, Asselberghs’ decisively filming after the fact, the enigmatic inclusion of hand signals — all these work together to reveal a certain constellation in which things again come together momentarily before taking their leave. It is a film running alongside the events, and alongside time. A contemporary film in the pure sense of the word — a way of being with time.


In the presence of Els Opsomer and Herman Asselberghs


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